Competitor Selection Jury

John O'Conor photo (2)John O’Conor,  Ireland – Chair

“A pianist of unbounding sensitivity” (Gramophone) ; “He represents a vanishing tradition that favors inner expression and atmosphere over showmanship and bravura” (Chicago Tribune) ; “Impeccable technique and musicality … it would be hard to imagine better performances” (Sunday Times – London) ; “This artist has the kind of flawless touch that makes an audience gasp“ (Washington Post); “Exquisite playing” (New York Times).

John O’Conor has been gathering wonderful reviews for his masterly playing for over forty years. Having studied in his native Dublin, in Vienna with Dieter Weber, and being tutored by the legendary Wilhelm Kempff his unanimous 1st Prize at the International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna in 1973 opened the door to a career that has brought him all around the world.

Mr. O’Conor has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, l’Orchestre National de France, the NHK Orchestra in Japan and the Atlanta, Cleveland, San Francisco, Dallas, Montreal and Detroit Symphonies in North America. He has given concerts in many of the world’s most famous halls including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre in London, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Dvorak Hall in Prague and the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo.

His recordings of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas led CD Review to say that he “by now should be recognized as the world’s premier Beethoven interpreter” and his recent recordings of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra and Andreas Delfs have also been greeted with acclaim.

A Steinway Artist, Mr. O’Conor is Chair of the Piano Division at Shenandoah University in Virginia, a faculty member at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, International Visiting Artist at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Visiting Professor at Showa University in Japan.

O’Conor was a co-founder of the Dublin International Piano Competition, of which he is the Artistic Director and Chairman of the Jury. He has been invited to serve on the juries of many international piano competitions including the Leeds, the Tchaikovsky in Moscow, the Chopin in Warsaw, the Rubinstein in Tel Aviv, the Busoni in Bolzano, the Clara Haskil in Vevey, the Gina Bachauer in Salt Lake City, the Jose Iturbi in Valencia, and International Piano Competitions of Toronto, Cleveland, and Sydney.  Mr. O’Conor is returning to Hilton Head to chair the Competitor Selection Jury, after previously chairing the 2010 and 2014 Hilton Head International Piano Competition juries.

For his services to music he has been decorated “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Government, awarded the “Ehrenkreuz fur Wissenschaft und Kunst” by the Austrian Government, and the “Order of the Rising Sun” by the Japanese Government.

Ron Dank pictureRan Dank, Israel

Technically dazzling and intellectually probing artistry exemplify pianist Ran Dank who won a coveted place on the Young Concert Artists roster in 2009 and subsequently made his New York recital debut sponsored by YCA and the Jerome L.Greene Foundation at Merkin Hall December 14, 2009.

He was a laureate of the Cleveland International Competition, the Naumburg Piano Competition and the Sydney International Piano Competition and First Prize winner of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.

Among recent highlights are performances with the Jerusalem Symphony, Asheville Symphony, concerts with the Phoenix Symphony and numerous other ensembles. He played the Brahms Concerto in B-flat Major with the Charleston Symphony in spring 2016. Ran has been presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society at the Kennedy Center, the Chopin Festival in Warsaw, Finland’s Mantta Festival, the Israel Conservatory of Music. He has performed chamber music at YCA’s Tokyo Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival and the Israel Festival in Jerusalem.

Ran Dank and his wife, Soyeon Kate Lee, are the co-founders and artistic directors of Music by the Glass, a concert series dedicated to bringing together young professionals in New York City.

He recently completed Doctoral studies with Ursula Oppens and Richard Goode at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York as a Chancellor’s Fellow, and previously received a Bachelor’s Degree from the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University in his native Israel and a Master’s Degree and Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School.

In 2014 Mr. Dank joined the Music Department Faculty of the College of Charleston as the Director of Piano Studies and Assistant Professor and also served as Artistic Director of the College of Charleston International Piano Series.  Recognized for his insights into excellent piano performance, he was appointed to the jury for the March, 2015 Dallas International Piano Competition.  In August 2016, he will join the faculty as assistant professor of piano at the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music.

Yong Hi Moon pictureYong Hi Moon, South Korea

Yong Hi Moon made her solo debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at age 10 as winner of the National Korean Broadcasting Competition. Ms. Moon has won top prizes in the Elena-Rombro Stepanow Competition in Vienna, the Viotti International Competition in Italy, the Vienna da Motta Competition in Portugal and received the Chopin Prize from the Geneva International Competition in Switzerland.

Ms. Moon performs throughout Asia, Europe and the US, having appeared with the Osaka, Seoul, and Tokyo Philharmonics, and the Korean National Symphony. In 1975, the South Korean government invited Ms. Moon to participate in a festival for the 30th anniversary of the Korean liberation, and she continues to maintain a strong performing and teaching presence in her native country. In 1991, she performed in the complete cycle of Mozart piano concerti along with four other artists, commemorating the composer’s bicentennial year.   In 1997, Ms. Moon performed the complete solo piano works of Schubert in six recitals in Korea and the US.  In summer of 2000, she toured extensively throughout Korea, including solo recitals and performances with the orchestras of Kwangju and Daejun.

She collaborates regularly with her husband – pianist/conductor Dai Uk Lee – both in duo piano concerts and under his baton.  In 2009 they performed Olivier Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen in both the US and Korea.  Their CD recording on the Music and Art label of Czech four-hand piano music has received outstanding critical acclaim.

Ms. Moon is in high demand as a guest master class teacher and adjudicator. Ms. Moon has been a regular faculty member at Shandelee, Aria, Prague, and Bowdoin Summer Festivals, Valencia Piano Academy, and the Art of Piano Festival at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. In addition, she has performed and conducted master classes at Chautauqua Summer Festival in New York, and the International School for Musical Arts in Canada.  Recently she gave master classes at the Shanghai Conservatory and Korean National University of Arts.

She has served on the juries of the CCC Toronto, the Senigallia in Italy, the  Gilmore, and the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competitions, among others. In March of 2014, she served as the jury chair at the Seoul International Piano Competition.

Ms. Moon studied at the Vienna Academy, graduating with the highest honors. She continued studying in London before pursuing an Artist Diploma at Indiana University in Bloomington.   Her teachers included Dieter Weber, Maria Curcio, György Sebok, Leon Fleisher, Wilhelm Kempff and Fou T’song.

After spending 15 years as professor of piano at Michigan State University School of Music, Ms. Moon joined the piano faculty at Peabody Institute in 2002.


Competition Jury


JaniceWeberJanice Weber, USA – Chair

Janice Weber is a summa cum laude graduate of the Eastman School of Music. Following graduation she was twice a fellowship student at Tanglewood.  She has appeared with the American Composers Orchestra, Boston Pops, Chautauqua Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony, New Hampshire Symphony, Sarajevo Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony, and the Shenzhen Philharmonic.

Her performances reflect her penchant for the unusual as her repertoire includes concertos by Hanson, Sowerby, Stenhammar, Bernstein, and Leroy Anderson as well as the standard repertoire.  Solo performances have been presented at the White House, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Weill Hall, National Gallery of Art, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the 92nd Street Y. She has performed at summer festivals in Newport, Bard, and Husum and has toured Yugoslavia, Turkey, and the Baltic States under the auspices of the US Information Service. She has concertized and given master classes in Shenzhen, Kunming, Chengdu, Shenyang, Xian, Beijing, and Gulong Yu, China.

Her eclectic recordings include the complete transcriptions of Rachmaninoff (IMP); with the Lydian Quartet, Leo Ornstein’s vast Piano Quintet (New World Records); waltz transcriptions of Godowsky, Rosenthal, and Friedman (IMP); the world premiere recording of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes in the notorious 1838 version (IMP); solo piano music of Leo Ornstein (Naxos), and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (Ongaku Records). Seascapes, her most recent recording, is a collection of virtuoso pieces depicting the ocean by Blumenfeld, Bloch, Alec Templeton, and others.

A member of the Boston Conservatory piano faculty, Miss Weber is Artistic Director of the South Coast Chamber Players, an ensemble based in New Bedford, Massachusetts.  In addition to her work in China, she has given master classes and recitals at conservatories throughout America. She has been an adjudicator for the National Endowment for the Arts and has served on juries for the Gilmore Foundation, the American Piano Association, the Boston Amateur Pianists Competition, and, on several occasions the Hilton Head International Competition..

A multi-talented artist, Miss Weber produced the tones for Ivory, the worldwide bestselling virtual piano software, and is the author of eight novels.

Ms. Weber is a Steinway Artist.

angela-chengAngela Cheng, Canada

Consistently praised for her brilliant technique, tonal beauty and superb musicianship, Canadian pianist Angela Cheng is one of her country’s national treasures. In addition to regular guest appearances with virtually every orchestra in Canada, she has also performed with the Alabama Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, Utah Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic.

In 2009, at the invitation of Pinchas Zukerman, Ms. Cheng toured both Europe and China with the Zukerman Chamber Players.  She joined them again in the spring of 2010 for a U.S. tour, which included concerts at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the 92nd Street Y in New York.  Subsequent seasons have seen multiple tours of Europe and South America, including performances at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and at the Schleswig-Holstein and Ravinia festivals.

An avid recitalist, Ms. Cheng appears regularly on recital series throughout the United States and Canada and has collaborated with numerous chamber ensembles including the Takács, Colorado and Vogler quartets. Her festival appearances include Salzburg, Verbier, Chautauqua, Banff, Colorado, Houston, Vancouver, the Festival International de Lanaudière in Quebec and the Cartegena International Music Festival in Colombia.

 Ms. Cheng’s debut recording of two Mozart concerti with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra received glowing reviews. Other CDs include Clara Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor with JoAnn Falletta and the Women’s Philharmonic for Koch International; for CBC Records, four Spanish concerti with Hans Graf and the Calgary Philharmonic, both Shostakovich concerti with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Radio Orchestra, and a solo disc of selected works of Clara and Robert Schumann; and an all-Chopin recital CD released by Universal Music Canada.

Ms. Cheng has been Gold Medalist of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition, as well as the first Canadian to win the prestigious Montreal International Piano Competition.  She has served on the juries of the Cleveland, Honens, Montreal,  William Kapell, Gina Bachauer, New Orleans, and the Hilton Head International Piano Competitions, as well as  the American Pianists Association Competition. She is currently on the artist faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Alexander Korsantia PictureAlexander Korsantia, Republic of Georgia

Alexander Korsantia has been praised for the “clarity of his technique, richly varied tone and dynamic phrasing” (Baltimore Sun), and a “piano technique where difficulties simply do not exist” (Calgary Sun).  The Boston Globe found his interpretation of Pictures at an Exhibition to be “a performance that could annihilate all others one has heard.”  Ever since winning the First Prize and Gold Medal at the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition and First Prize at the Sidney International Piano Competition, Mr. Korsantia’s career has taken him to many of the world’s major concert halls, collaborating with conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, Gianandrea Noseda, Valeri Gergiev, and Paavo Jarvi; and orchestras including the Chicago and City of Birmingham Symphonies, Kirov Orchestra, and Israel Philharmonic.

Recent and coming seasons bring him to the Cincinnati, Edmonton, Louisville, Bogota,  Jerusalem, City of Birmingham, Oregon, Vancouver, Mannheim and Israel Symphony orchestras; Tokyo, Oslo, Malaga and Israel Philharmonic orchestras; Georgian Sinfonietta, Ingolstadt and Israel Chamber Orchestras, Jerusalem Camerata, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, RAI Orchestra in Turin, Polish Radio Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional in Mexico City. He can be heard at Piano Jacobins concert series in Toulouse; White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg; Tanglewood, Newport, Stresa, Gilmore, and Verbier festivals, performing solo recitals and collaborating with musicians including Yuri Bashmet, Vadim Repin and Sergei Nakoriakov.  Bel Air Music and Piano Classics are among the labels on which Mr. Korsantia has recorded. The most recent release includes a collection of piano variations by Beethoven (Eroica), Rachmaninoff (Chopin) and Copland.

Also in demand as an adjudicator, he has served on the juries of the 4th Bösendorfer and Schimmel USASU International Piano Competition in 2009, the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 2013, and the Arthur Rubinstein competition in Tel Aviv in 2014.

Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, Alexander Korsantia began his musical studies at an early age with his mother, Svetlana Korsantia and later became a pupil of Tengiz Amiredjibi, Georgia’s foremost piano instructor.  In 1992, he joined his fellow Georgian, Alexander Toradze, on the faculty of Indiana University in South Bend.  In 1999, he was awarded Georgia’s most prestigious national Order of Honor, bestowed on him by then-President Eduard Shevardnadze.  Korsantia now resides in Boston where he is Professor of Piano at the New England Conservatory. Mr. Korsantia is also artistic director of the annual music festival “From Easter to Ascension” in Georgia.

Julian Martin pictureJulian Martin, USA

A native of Alabama, Julian Martin received his early training from Beverly Gibbons and conductor Vernon Raines.  He continued his studies at Peabody with Leon Fleisher.  He also worked with Guido Agosti, Robert Casadesus, and Nadia Boulanger.

With major prizes from Casadesus (Cleveland), Kapell, Bachauer, and Montevideo International Competitions in close succession, Mr. Martin’s career was launched in the mid-1970s.  In 1982 he was awarded the Jury Prize for Accompanying in the Tchaikovsky International Competition (Moscow), subsequently appearing in concerts widely telecast throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Mr. Martin’s career has taken him to major halls around the globe and endorsements have followed from the world press – from Buenos Aires, Caracas, and Los Angeles to Florence, Moscow, and Tokyo.   His concert roster has long been characterized by a broad versatility, introducing new works of composers Stephen Albert, Richard Rodney Bennett, George Crumb, and Mario Davidovsky to audiences on four continents.  Two works for solo piano were written expressly for him by Edward Barnes.  He has been highly praised for his fortepiano collaborations, on period instruments, in chamber music of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms.

In recent years Julian Martin has presented master classes throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada, Venezuela, Columbia, Uruguay, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, England, Spain, and Wurzburg; the Glenn Gould School in Toronto, the Conservatoire de Geneve, and Conservatoire Tibor Varga in Switzerland.

He was an original member of the advisory and adjudication committee for the Gilmore International Piano Festival in Kalamazoo.  He has served as a juror for the Montreal International Piano Competition, Stars of the Twenty First Century in St. Petersburg, the American Pianists Foundation in Indianapolis, and the Jaén International Competition in Spain.  In 1999, in collaboration with conductor Oliver Diaz, Mr. Martin founded and is currently artistic director of the New Millennium International Piano Festival in Gijon, Spain (Asturias).

After teaching at Oberlin Conservatory for six years, Mr. Martin joined the faculty of Peabody Conservatory in 1987.  He was appointed to The Juilliard School in 1999 where he currently maintains a full-time position.

Antonio Pompa-Baldi pictureAntonio Pompa-Baldi, Italy

Born in Foggia, Italy, Antonio Pompa-Baldi won the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 1999 and embarked on a career that continues cover the world. A top prize winner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition of Paris, he also won a silver medal at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Mr. Pompa-Baldi appears regularly at major concert venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Paris’ Salle Pleyel, Milan’s Sala Verdi, Shanghai’s Grand Theatre, and Boston’s Symphony Hall. His world-wide performances include a recital in the Forbidden City Concert Hall, and Master Classes at the China National Conservatory, as Honorary Guest Professor. He is also an Honorary Visiting Professor at China’s Wenzhou University.  Pompa-Baldi has played with the Berliner Symphoniker, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Boston Pops, among others.  He has collaborated with great musicians including Hans Graf, James Conlon, Louis Lane, Keith Lockhart, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

Among his recordings for Centaur Records are the entire piano repertoire of Grieg, an all-Schumann disc, an all-Rachmaninoff CD, and the Rheinberger Piano Sonatas.  Other recordings include a live recital of his award-winning Cliburn Competition performances on Harmonia Mundi, and “The Rascal and the Sparrow-Poulenc meets Piaf”, piano arrangements of songs by Francis Poulenc and Edith Piaf on the Steinway Label. His CD, “After a reading of Liszt”, was recorded live in recital at the Stellenbosch Conservatory, and released by the South African label TwoPianists.  Pompa-Baldi is now recording the complete Hummel Piano Sonatas.

Recent live performances include all the Rachmaninoff Concertos and Paganini Rhapsody with the Cape Town Philharmonic; a recital at the First Lang Lang International Piano Festival in China, at the invitation of the great Chinese pianist; all the Beethoven Concertos with Maestro Theodore Kuchar; and both Brahms Concertos with the Dayton Philharmonic.

A Steinway artist, Mr. Pompa-Baldi is on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is the founder, artistic director and a faculty member of Todi International Music Masters, a Festival in Todi, Italy, which attracts talented piano students from all over the world.  Pompa-Baldi sits on the juries of prestigious piano competitions, including the Cleveland International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head international Piano Competition, the International Edvard Grieg Piano Competition in Bergen, Norway, and the San Jose International Piano Competition.